Syracuse guard Tiana Mangakahia played in a competitive basketball game Sunday afternoon for the first time in 615 days.
It was her first contest since recovering from breast cancer. It marked the end of one journey and the start of another as the No. 23-ranked Orange aims to return to the dominant team they once were after playing last season without their starting point guard.
Mangakahia scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists in the Orange’s 50-39 season-opening win at Stony Brook.
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As the Orange’s all-time assist leader, Mangakahia’s first play was right on brand: a dime to Amaya Finklea-Guity for a layup. A couple of minutes later, Mangakahia got a steal and used her speed on a fast break to score her first points in almost two years.
She was subbed out moments later as Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman tried to manage his point guard’s usage rate throughout the game. Mangakahia would sit for breathers, but for only a play or two.
Mangakahia tied for a game-high 36 minutes along with her backcourt mate Kiara Lewis, who finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
Syracuse freshman Kamilla Cardoso showed throughout her college debut why she’s the No. 5 ranked recruit in the Class of 2020. The 6-foot-7 freshman ran the floor like a guard, made her presence felt on defense and finished 50% of her field goals — totaling 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Mangakahia will make another return Wednesday in her first home game in the Carrier Dome as the Orange faces Lincoln. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.
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